A consortium led by Russia's Stroytransgaz is set to get a 3.5 billion euro ($4.82 billion) contract to build the Bulgarian section of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, Reuters reported, quoting industry sources.
"The Stroitransgaz-led consortium has been picked to build the Bulgarian part of the pipeline," a source familiar with the deal in Bulgaria said.
The Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), Stroytransgaz, Gazprom and the project company set up to implement the gas pipeline project in Bulgaria declined comment. "It is not possible to say a contractor is chosen until the project company announces its decision publicly," Bulgarian energy minister Dragomir Stoynev told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.
Some 11 companies bid for the work, BEH has said, without naming the bidders.
The fate of South Stream was questioned last week by the chief executive of Italian energy company Eni, a stakeholder in the project, due to Russia's actions in Ukraine.
The Gazprom-spearheaded South Stream pipeline will supply natural gas from Russia to central and southeastern Europe. Its offshore part will run from Russia's Black Sea shore across the Turkish exclusive economic zone to the Bulgarian cost near Varna and will consist of four pipeline strings with annual capacity expected to reach 63 billion cubic metres. Commercial operation is scheduled to start by the end of 2015.